IN 1846 John and Robert Archibald began building Devonvale Mills on the northern edge of the River Devon.

The reason the site was chosen was the village itself had reached its capacity for mills along the edge of Tillicoultry Burn and by this time the need for water power was not as critical for mills as the industrial age advanced in technology.

Five years later, the Archibalds transferred production completely from their Craigfoot Mill to the site, and although began producing tartan, they soon changed to Tweed manufacturing in line with fashion trends.

The main three-storey building, made from rubble walls, and measuring 16 bays long by three wide, was completed in the 1860s.

It is said that due to the poor land it was built on, willow faggots were run at right angles to the walls to help support them.

By the end of August 1914, following the outbreak of The Great War, Devonvale became a barracks and parade ground to 5th King's Own Scottish Borderers.

The Devon Valley Tribune ran a story at the time saying that Tillicoultry had become a "garrison town", and the Walker Institute in Stirling Street was placed at their disposal.

Locals heard artillery fire and cannon practice when the Royal Field Artillery were stationed at Devonvale, but utilising the horses proved a challenge as the surrounding area was too marshy for training them with horse drawn carriages.

Later the 53rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, as well as 800 horses which were stabled in the mill, took their place at Devonvale, only leaving the town in March 1919.

In 1921 the mill was converted into a paper mill by Samuel Jones and Co. Among the products they made were Cadbury's wrappers, cork tips for cigarettes, passe-partout and coloured gum paper and won contracts to produce stamps for Royal Mail as well as playing cards.

Their trademark paper was the butterfly brand paper named after the Camberwell Beauty species. The name is still used today for The Butterfly Inn.

A year later Londoner Sydney Augustus Platfoot became managing director and introduced improved working conditions. He also knew the importance of a happy, healthy workforce and during the 1930s introduced outings for the employees and if an employee was getting married, the occasion was marked by a presentation.

In 1926, Platfoot coined the phrase: "We should try to make the good better, and the better best" and became the mantra not only for the mill but for the burgh, as he was appointed to the town council that year.